Book Review: Trillion Dollar Coach

The Book Trillion Dollar Coach is written by Eric Schmidt, the former Chairman of Google and his co-authors Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle

The Coach in the Book is Bill Campbell who is supposed to have coached half of Silicon Valley including legends like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, Sheryl Sandberg etc. Trillion Dollars in the title refers to the wealth created by these companies thanks to the advice and guidance provided by Bill

Bill Campbell is no more ( he died in 2016) and his coachees felt a Book would be the best way to honour his memory and bring his learnings to ordinary folks,

In the Indian context, we are used to coaches (or Gurus) who help/guide us in our personal lives- it can be in spirituality or sports or Yoga or dance or music etc. But very rarely, we have coaches who help us in our professional life. And yet, it is our professional lives where we need the most help and which in turn can have the most impact on the outside world

The genius of Bill Campbell was that he understood that successful companies need successful teams. So, along with individual 1-1s, he used to coach entire teams.

I was astonished to know that he used to sit on staff meetings at Google to check how the teams work.Any senior recruitment would need his approval before selection. This was the kind of trust he enjoyed

The Book contains many lessons regarding trust, loyalty, integrity, decisiveness, communication, putting the team first, knowing the first principles etc

The Book tends to be hagiographic at times which is irritating and takes away the spotlight from some of the lessons.

The Book has quite a few interesting anecdotes from Business and the Board Room which bring to colour the business aspects of Silicon Valley.

One amazing aspect of Bill was that he did not charge a dime for his services.

Some of the hottest companies in Silicon Valley (including Google) offered him compensation to which his reply was:

“I don’t take cash, I don’t take stock, and I don’t take shit”

Then why did he spend so much time and energy coaching and guiding others?

His reply was “If you’ve been blessed, be a blessing”

That to me was the greatest lesson from the greatest coach of all time

Do buy this book if interested in becoming a better manager

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